On the KHMH isolation ward for Covid-19
March 12, 2020
Government forms coronavirus task force, oversight committee
March 12, 2020

Belize City Council sees a 9% increase in revenue

Posted: Thursday, March 12, 2020. 3:23 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Belize City Council says that in its first year in office (the recent audit report covers the period ending just before it took office in March of 2018 and all of 2018-2019), it was able to increase revenue by nine percent, slash expenditure and get the Council to positive cash and asset balance.

Nearly three in every four city residents now pay property taxes, up from 65 percent, and the Council is no longer offering discounts to clear balances off the sheets. Revenue in liquor license, trade license, traffic and elsewhere has improved. And on the expenditure side, expensive travel and fuel costs have been cut out.

But as we asked Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner on Wednesday, might a cynical and/or political mind be left open to say that the Council is blaming Government for having to grind more out of City residents to fill the void left by the loss of its regular payments to the previous Council?

Not so, he responded: “We have not operated outside the law. Our revenue streams have clearly been identified; our expenditure clearly identified. The key areas that I am telling you about are curtailing wastage…”

Former deputy Mayor Oscar Arnold added that the Council has not arbitrarily raised anyone’s property taxes or trade licenses.

But much of the Council’s savings have gone to paying outstanding bills – more than $600,000 to RJB Construction for street works and another $300,000 for purchase of leased land.

But facing re-election next year and the general elections later this year, the Council is emphasizing its social infrastructure platform and is now turning more to its legal mandate – streets, drains and general infrastructure with a focus on engaging those not seen on the front streets, “impacting the quality of lives of the people in those areas.”

And no news is good news on the sanitation front; the Council has repaired its relationship with Belize Waste Control, said Wagner, ensuring no repeat of the antics faced by the previous Council with Belize Maintenance Limited, which it absorbed under the direction of the Central Government.

So, Mayor Wagner concluded, “How can the – your question – the residents expect more from a city council. I just showed you the debts that we met, the taking away of 400,000+ per month, 5 million per year, sucked out of this council. I think it is unfair that people would believe that we haven’t been able to give back in terms of infrastructure. We, through our programs, we have touched more lives, than that council did with 40 million, with the little that we have. And now, with the bond, we clearly have identified different key streets that we intended to rehabilitate so that the residents have a better quality of life.”


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